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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

Tax Free Weekend is Here! 4 Tips To Help You Purchase The Perfect Tech Devices For Back to School an

I can't believe summer is almost over and you know what the end of summer means. Yep, kids are heading back to school and that means it's time to get school supplies and for some of you, that means purchasing new tech devices. Technology is not cheap, but it's almost tax-free weekend for back-to-school purchases. If this happens in your state, the items that you purchase for back to school can be purchased tax-free. Tax Free Weekend is a great time to buy new tech devices, but what devices should you go after? If you don't have a tech expert like myself walking down the store aisle to shop with you, it can be hard to know what items you should purchase. Well fear not. It doesn't matter if you’re headed to college, back to school, or just looking to get your hands on some new tech, I'm here to help you through it.

Tax Free Weekend doesn't occur in every state. Here are the following states that participate: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico,

Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. Check to see what items are tax free before you go rushing in your local store to get some new tech.

Whether you are purchasing tech devices for yourself or that student in your life, know what to get. Here are the things I always tell people to look for when purchasing new technology.

1. Trust the advice of the tech expert, not the sales person.

When you go to an electronics store, the goal of the person in the store is to get your make a purchase, not find technology that's tailor made to you. I've given specific computer specifications to people over the years ... even printed out the exact computer model to purchase at the store and it never fails that the person I've recommended to, comes back with something completely different. So trust me. I have no alliances with any of the computer manufactures, just the experience of knowing pieces of technology work the best. So listen up. if you're getting a Windows or Macintosh computer, get one with an Intel i5 or i7 processor with 8 Gigs of RAM and a 1 Terabyte of Hard Drive storage. You'd be even happier if you got one with an Intel i7 processor with 16 Gigs of RAM. If you're in the market for a tablet or smartphone, get one with at least 64 Gigabytes of storage. If you need an external backup drive, 1 Terabyte of storage should be enough for most people. Printing is starting to fade away, but you should aim to get a wireless printer that will allow you to print from your computer, smartphone and tablet. Here are the brands of devices I recommend you stick with.

Windows. I really love the durability of Dell desktop and laptop computers. So if you have to go by name brand, go with Dell. Microsoft Surface Tablet is also a great option for a Windows tablet.

Macintosh. Apple makes some of the best computers on the planet. If you can afford it, get a Mac. You can never go wrong with an iMac, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Don't rush out and get an Apple because of my recommendation if you are a Windows user. There are differences between Windows and Mac, so make sure you're ready to make the leap.

Tablet or Smartphone: Samsung or Apple devices are the best tablet and smartphones on the planet. If you're looking for an inexpensive tablet, Amazon Fire Tablets are a good buy

Printer: EThere are many brands of printers on the market, but HP's line of InkJet and Laserjet printers really hold up. The bonus is their line of wireless printers will allow you to easily print from any device. Doesn't matter if you have a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, it will easier print to an HP printer.

Backup Device: External hard drives are the best option for backing up your information. Flash drives should only be used to temporarily transfer documents between school and home or work and home. If you want to keep your data safe get a Western Digital My Passport Backup. The backup software in Windows computers and Macintosh computer will automatically save your data to the drive. If you do need a USB Flash Drive, get a Kingston device.

2. Know how much you should spend on tech devices. Technology ain't cheap. Many of you are fooled by the 'intro' price for tech devices. These inexpensive devices aren't designed to last long and the idea behind them is to get you purchasing a new device every 18 months. If you want a decent Windows desktop computer, you need to spend at least $500 A Windows laptop is going to cost you $600 or more. Macintosh desktop and laptop computers start at $1000 and an Apple iPad can range from $250 to almost $1000 depending on how much storage you want. You have a little flexibility with Android based tablets like Samsung and Amazon Fire tablets which range from $35 to $600. Good printers start at $100 and go up from there. Stick with the range of prices I've listed above and you should always wind up with quality technology.

3. Think about the Future. Focus on getting quality devices. I mentioned how much I like Dell and Apple devices. It's because they are built to last. There's nothing more annoying than having a tech device that falls apart after owning it for a year or less. When looking for tech devices, focus on things like how sturdy the hinges on the laptop screen are, how the keyboard feels when you type on it, how sturdy the chassis is, the type of plastic (or metal) used in its construction, how the track pad feels under your fingers, and so on. Online purchases are great, but it's always good to get out to electronics stores like the Apple Store, the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and Micro Center, to get hands-on time with the devices you plan to purchase.

4. Know What Service Plans and Warranties are on the devices you plan to purchase. Most tech devices come with a one year warranty that will cover device failure. If you have a device that is destined to fail, it will usually happen within the first year. I never purchase extended warranties on any of the tech products that I purchase (yes, I know I can fix them if they break) because I'm pretty careful with my devices. If you are rough with your devices or accident prone, I would recommend getting an extended warranty. You might not need it, but it's a good thing to have in the case of a tech emergency.

So what devices do you plan on purchasing for Tax Free Weekend? Drop me a line and let me know what toys you plan on purchasing.

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